Escanaba historic girls basketball season comes to end in quarterfinals

Keira Maki makes a layup on Monday during an MHSAA Division 2 state quarterfinal game played against Portland at Houghton Lake. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Todd Rose)

HOUGHTON LAKE — An historic season for the Escanaba girls basketball team came to an end Monday night in a 47-41 defeat against Portland in an MHSAA Division 2 state quarterfinal at Houghton Lake.

It was the first time in school history that the Eskymos girls made it to a state quarterfinal.

“They have nothing to hang their heads about,” Escanaba coach Mike Beveridge said after the game. “They played hard the whole game.”

The difference maker was free throws as the Eskymos struggled from the line down the stretch, sinking just 6 of 17 tries. The Raiders didn’t do much better, though, only going 9 of 20 from the line.

However, Portland (18-2) made them when they counted the most — in the fourth quarter. They were 5 of 9 in the final 2:39.

“We’ve been shooting free throws really great,” Beveridge said. “We just happened to have an off night, and that hurt us in the game.”

The Raiders turned a tight 6-5 game early into a more comfortable margin with a 10-point run to make it 16-5. A 3-point shot by Esky’s Mari Bink put an end to the Portland run. After one quarter, Portland led 22-11.

In the second, it was a completely different story as the Escanaba defense put the clamp on the Raiders, allowing them only three points.

“We switched up to be more man-to-man,” Beveridge said about changes to the Eskymos’ defense made during the break between quarters. “We got a little more pressure on the ball. We worked hard off the ball, and we made turnovers happen for us.

“Our man defense did that for us … it was very effective for us.”

But EHS star Nicole Kamin got into foul trouble with three fouls and still 18 minutes left. But she managed to stay foul-free the rest of the game.

Escanaba (14-5) kept it close in the second half, closing the gap to as few as two points in the third quarter and three in the fourth.

Ashley Bower anchored Portland’s offense with 22 points. Ava Guilford had 10.

Leading scorer for the Eskymos — against Portland and all-time — Kamin wrapped up her high school career with 12 points. The Raiders defense made her their main target.

“First off, they’re a really good team,” Kamin said. “I don’t think we were really ready for their defensive end as much … We thought they were going to come out in a 1-3-1, and they ended up playing man the whole game.”

Maddie Monkevich and Bink each had 11 points for the Eskymos.


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